After a 4-10 start to the season, the Red Sox ended April with a 11-11 record and are looking to jump back into the top of the AL East during the current stretch of 20-games in 20-days.
Pitching will play a big role in Boston's success in May, and it will likely determine whether the Red Sox can survive with their current staff or if they will need to pursue another pitcher — such as Roy Oswalt — before the July trade deadline.
NESN's Don Orsillo answers these and many more questions from Red Sox nation heading into a key part of their season.
Do you think the Red Sox’ winning streak is because of the weak teams they are facing?
— Timothy F Boyd Sr.
I think it helps. The start of the year was really a tough stretch of playoff teams from a year ago that all appear stronger than they were last year. The schedule now for the sox really is in their favor for the next few weeks. They have to take advantage of all these series coming up. However, I do think the recent 6-1 trip gave this team a confidence that they have not enjoyed until this point. Winning is winning and it does not matter who it is against. It makes you feel better and more confident when you do face the better teams in the league.
Who's been making the Red Sox start becoming a better team?
— John Rivera
A group of guys in my estimation. All the starting pitchers in the rotation. The last trip was amazing and it is no coincidence that all the starters performed well and got deep into games. Clay Buchholz was the exception, but they still won his game on the trip. If the starters can continue to go deep into games it takes so much pressure off the bullpen. When the bullpen does not have to come early they can stay in their roles and start innings clean without coming in to to get out of jams.
Do you think the Red Sox biggest threat is themselves?
— Andrew Carle
I think the powers of the the AL are the biggest issues they will face. We saw how good Texas is, and despite cooling off, Detroit is as good as anybody. I have yet to even mention the the AL East as an entire division. So I still think the opponents will be the biggest issue for the Sox. All that said, health is always my greatest concern. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are out for extended periods. Kevin Youkilis has some nagging back stuff, and with a few more to add on, the team is really strapped.
What do you think the Red Sox are going to do with Aaron Cook?
— Andrew Hebert
Despite the troubles of Clay Buchholz so far this season, it sounds like he will be added to the pen for now. Bobby Valentine was pretty clear in that assessment yesterday. At some point he could be used as a sixth starter when the Sox head into a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, but he will be used as a long reliever for now. I am surprised because I did not think he could be used as a reliever based on past injuries and his track record as a starter, but it appears that's what will happen. Next up will be what happens when Daisuke Matsuzaka is ready to return.
Is Boston going to make a push for Roy Oswalt?
— Daniel D'Orsi
I think they already did during the winter and maybe a few times after the off season. He wants a lot of money and there has been talk that, despite pitching in Philadelphia, he would rather stay out of the Northeast. I am surprised that he has not found a home yet, but if it was going to be Boston I think it would have already happened.
Now that everything's going well, is it about time for Bobby Valentine to call up Mark Melancon?
This has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. I thought Mark Melancon was going to be a very good fit here. Maybe he still will be at some point. I think he started bad and it sort of snowballed and Bobby Valentine's confidence in him changed in a hurry. His return will be expected, but clearly he will need to win back the confidence of his manager to be used in the capacity they originally had him slated for.